Twenty-one students in the Harvard Graduate School of Education have recently begun practical apprenticeship, a feature of the reorganized program of the School which includes similar work in various forms of educational service, it was learned yesterday.
Practice teaching, which means the actual conduct of classes in various high school subjects, such as French, algebra, history, and English, is the form of apprenticeship provided for those who expect to be teachers in secondary schools. Other forms of apprenticeship are used for those who are in training for careers in school administration, playground work, vocational guidance, educational measurement, and other forms of educational service, outside of teaching.
Apprenticed in First Year
Students who come to the School without experience are ordinarily apprenticed in their first year as teachers, and later, if they are working toward administration, supervision, or some form of special service, they take additional apprenticeship in connection with advanced courses. The practice teachers whose work is supervised by the School therefore include nearly all inexperienced students whether or not they intend to seek positions as classroom instructors. These practice teachers also include a few undergraduates who are taking advantage of the opportunity to include the practice teaching course, without credit, in the work of their Senior year.
Of the 21 students who began practice teaching last week under these arrangements, 4 are undergraduates, the remainder being students regularly enrolled in the Graduate School of Education. Eight of the practice teachers are women, 13 are men. English leads among the subjects taught, claiming eight of the group, three men and five women. In mathematics there are two men and one woman; in science there are three men. Other subjects taught are French, history, and commerce. The practice teachers are distributed this year in the high schools of Arlington, Cambridge, Belmont, Watertown. Newton, Brookline, Somerville, Chelsea, and Medford.
Theories Put in Practice
The practice teaching is conducted in close connection with the theoretical study of the process of learning and the problems of teaching and class management as a means of stimulating and guiding the learner. Assignments to practice positions in the schools are made after three weeks of preliminary study in the course. The first task of the practice teacher is to observe classroom work. As soon as the student becomes familiar with the work of the class to which he is assigned, he is permitted gradually to participate in the teaching. At the end of the year most of the teachers will be in full charge of classes. The supervision of the teaching is under the general direction of Professor F. T. Spaulding '17, who is assisted by H. E. Wilson '19.
Co-operating with Professor Spaulding and Mr. Wilson are various specialists on the staff of the School, who participate in supervising the first-year apprenticeship in their own fields, and who take full charge of second-year apprenticeship for classroom instructors. The list includes Professor L. J. A. Mercier in French and Professor Ralph Beatley '13 in mathematics. In addition to supervision from members of the Education Faculty practice teachers work under the immediate oversight of critic teachers in the schools, who are selected and paid by the Graduate School of Education for this work.
Practice teaching on this general plan has been conducted at Harvard since 1902. The extension of the idea of apprenticeship to other forms of educational service was part of the reorganization of the program of the Graduate School of Education which went into effect in 1927. The School now requires two years of work for the Master's degree with a general examination and apprenticeship in addition to the ordinary requirement of credit in courses. Every student in the School combines in his program the theoretical study of Education and advanced work in the special subject he expects to teach, and if he is not to be a teacher, work in subjects allied to his special interest, as for example in psychology if he is to be a school psychologist or in government if he is to be an administrator. Practice teaching is the easiest form of apprenticeship to arrange and supervise; but the School has the co-operation of a large number of neighboring school systems for apprenticeship in other forms of educational service.
Practical work in testing, vocational counseling, and the directing of playground and recreation centers is comparatively easy to arrange. In administration it is possible to secure opportunity for participation in school surveys, statistical studies of school records, the formulation of building programs, and similar activities. It is naturally impossible to give full apprenticeship to inexperienced students in the management of a school or school system. A partial apprenticeship, however, is provided in connection with every curriculum for the Ed.M., and students may at least be tested as to some of the qualities and skills that are necessary in the work for which they wish to prepare.
Students who come to the School after a year or more of experience in Education may meet the requirement of apprenticeship by credit for the practical work they have already done.
Private schools in the vicinity of the University have recently been added to the list of co-operating institutions